Dusty Baker expressed concern yesterday about Daniel Murphy not getting enough playing time in the World Baseball Classic. The Nats' second baseman has gone 0-6 in just two games for Team USA.
“He didn’t have his stuff together when he left,” Baker said, “and how are you going to get yourself together if you’re not playing?”
Murphy hit .347 for the Nationals last season, and was edged out by D.J. LaMahieu for best batting average in the National League. Baker is evidently frustrated his best hitter is missing valuable spring training time sitting on the bench at the World Baseball Classic, when he should be working out kinks before the season starts.
“Batting practice is one thing, but competition is something else. What can I do about it until he gets back? I just hope we can get him enough work.”
Tanner Roark is also spending a lot of time on the bench for Team USA. He has pitched just one and one-third innings, giving up three runs. Roark was supposed to return to the Grapefruit League after the first round, but chose to stay for another round.
Opening Day is April 3, meaning Murphy and Roark will have at most a couple weeks to prepare for the season once they return from the tournament.